“Norway is concerned about developments in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian population is subject to ever-increasing pressure,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
“The status of Jerusalem must be resolved to ensure lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and this can only be achieved through negotiations,” said Mr Støre.
Today the Foreign Minister had talks with Palestinian leaders and with Lutheran Bishop Monib Younan about the situation of the Palestinian population of Jerusalem.
“Evictions, demolitions, the separation barrier and the ongoing establishment of new settlements are changing the demographics and geography of East Jerusalem, and thus also the basis for a negotiated solution,” said the Foreign Minister. “I am concerned that these changes, which have accelerated in recent months, will make it more difficult to get new, genuine negotiations off the ground.”
Norway considers the Israeli presence in East Jerusalem to be in violation of international law, as does the entire international community.
“We do not recognise Israel’s annexation of Palestinian East Jerusalem,” said Mr Støre.
Today the Foreign Minister visited the Augusta Victoria Hospital, which receives Norwegian support. It provides specialist medical services to the Palestinian population, but due to the Israeli closure regime, the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza no longer have free access to the hospital.
“Jerusalem is a holy city for billions of people who adhere to the three monotheistic world religions. Respect for each other’s faith and holy sites is a prerequisite for peaceful co-existence. Jews, Muslims and others must all have the right to live here,” said the Foreign Minister.